FLC Gallery Shows Art Transformed by Computer, Durango Herald, Oct. 24, 2006

“Winter Fences,” computer generated art by Anna Ursyn

The work of Anna Ursyn is graphically intense. Her cityscapes are busy and forceful with movement and color. Rural landscapes provide resting places for the eye, splotches of intense green or sky blue color. Call it digital collage or high-tech art or even algo writs, as the artist does. Each of the 24 works tells an informational story.

I met Ursyn, a petite woman with black hair perfectly parted down the middle, when she
lectured at Fort Lewis College on Friday. She has a background in painting and printmaking. This is evident in the two-dimensional work on display at the Fort Lewis College Art Gallery.

“I was interested in precision and intrigued by the computer,” Ursyn said. “Using the computer, I could achieve a perfection in my work that I couldn’t get with paint or printmaking.”

It is unfortunate that this perfection is not seen in the matting and framing of her artwork. Mats are jagged, and inexpensive frames split at the corners.

Ursyn programs her art using Fortran and other programming languages. Originally, she
output the work on giant plotters. Today, the work is printed on an Epson inkjet printer.

Some of her initial explorations with computer graphics were created using traditional
media. She shows examples of what she calls photo silkscreen, where she creates a silkscreen print of a computer-created image. “City Neighborhood,” stands out because of its thick, earthy colors, the grid of houses seen as if looking down from the sky, with birds flying across the page.

Ursyn’s art explores the repetition found in nature, the structures that make up line, shape and texture. She finds similar structures and repetitions in man-made forms, then tries to capture the messiness of paint with the precision of the computer.

The resolution in her prints is not crisp, but perhaps that is intentional. From a distance, they look hard-edged, not unlike a traditional painting where up close you see the beauty of the human brush stroke. In Ursyn’s work, up-close you see fuzzy digital resolution, the result of software interpolating the pixels in complex computer files.

As computers have advanced, Ursyn’s work has become more complex. Her more recent work is urban. “Ideas & Dogmas” is filled with repeating frames of black and white buildings, angular overlays of reds, yellows and oranges. The repetition and coexistence of these elements weakens as we look at the image. The first glance tells us everything. This is a city where one is bombarded with images, smells, sounds, buildings, cars, people, movement. The eye cannot rest, we must take it in all at once, and we are overloaded.

I chose to live in the Southwest to get away from the city. This is why I am drawn to Ursyn’s rural landscapes that use technology to reflect that natural world. “Two Skies” is a bold, graphic design with intense blood red color.

Ursyn writes on her Web site about this work: “The significant characteristic of the Western range is its legend of severe nature and austere cowboy life contrasted with the beauty of red rocks and changing sky. Computer-generated artwork fits in the very essence of today’s lifestyle, as it alleviates technological impact on our surroundings and links the beauty of man-made technical products and the aesthetics of painting.”

I see the link between man-made technical product and the aesthetics of painting. I see beautiful use of line and form and shape and color in Ursyn’s work. But the inkjet prints leave me cold. I want the squiggle of imperfection from a brushstroke, the layering of paper and photos and the buildup on a canvas that one cannot get with a flat print out.

“The computer is the perfect artistic tool,” Ursyn said at the end of her talk. “But very often it is not enough.”

lgoebel@centurytel.netLeanne Goebel is a freelance arts journalist from Pagosa Springs.

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